30 September 2013

bringing the drama

I know we're well past NYFW (my favorite day of fashion month already passed in Paris, too) but I thought it was important to showcase the work of Michael Doyle, from the Art Institute Show from NYFW this season. I wasn't feeling up to going so I asked Tayler to scope it out for me and I regret not going now if only for Doyle's work. It's very dramatic and beautiful and reminded me of my favorite illustrations for my favorite lady, Salome -- the Oscar Wilde retelling of the story. I've written about how much I love her for Rookie already

When I looked more into Doyle's inspiration, I wasn't even surprised. Verbatim:

My collection "Of a Neophyte" is inspired by the Art Nouveau artist Aubrey Beardsley. He was an early 20th Century artist from the UK who made grotesque and sexually charged paintings inspired by (or mocking) his aristocratic upbringing. My collection is inspired by costume and history, yet my personal level of creation and innovation makes the clothes very special and of a time not seen before. I stay as conceptual as possible and create clothing that is not a carbon copy of my inspiration.

Aubrey Beardsley was the illustrator for my favorite version of Salome. I remember flipping through Wilde's play in middle school and staring at how lethal and beautiful the illustrations were. I've always gravitated towards the gothic, I guess. Gothic women actually had FEELINGS, so know? Feelings like RAGE and bitterness and things I was feeling as a bullied marginalized girl in middle school who was questioning her sexuality and getting real tired of people calling me Chinese Chicken or Jackie Chan's little sister and then asking me to do their homework for them. Gothic women killed their men and looked fabulous doing it. I've always admired that. I still do, haha.

I think Doyle's interpretations are really beautiful and I wanted to share them because he's been overlooked a little, I think. Ok, I'm back to doing homework.  I'll talk to you soon -- I have so much to share!!! Much love.

23 September 2013

how to budget for your wardrobe destiny: a verbose guide to black crow existence

Got an email the other day -- and quite a few similar -- that I'll address them all in this post for future reference. Here's the email:

From this post : A CDG mix of gifted clothing and clothing I bought. The TAO CDG shirt was a $10 thrift find from a friend, the CDG skirt was around $120 at the annual archive sale. Shoes were a gift from the brand and the jacket was on loan. I bought my glasses at a local vintage store. 
Let me give you some background on how I accumulate nice things, first, so you know where I'm coming from. I won't give you my like, tax records or specific details about my class status (y'all don't really need to be that much up in my business, I come from a working class background and I receive financial aid from school, that's the basics) but essentially I afford my luxury lingerie and CDG via a lot of bargain hunting and budgeting of my income from working 6 days a week. It might seem like I have an endless amount of CDG, this is just because I only like photographing and memorializing the items I'm wearing and love the most and those happen to be it. I'm presenting to you an editorialized version of my life and you shouldn't forget it. Anyway, I buy the majority of it myself, though there are a few pieces here and there that were gifts from friends or from the designers because I'm a lucky girl. Mostly it's all me working a little bit above minimum wage and budgeting seriously for months at a time. This is going to be a LONG post, so half of it is under the cut.

How do I budget?

This post operates on the premise you have some source of income, if you don't, I'm sorry, this post will probably be useless to you. Moving on from that point, to manage income & expenses, I use the app called Mint on my phone (available on both android and apple products) to track my finances and have multiple budgets laid out for my finances. 
  • By being specific. I have my monthly budget laid out pretty specifically into four to five categories, but I tend to adjust it every two months according to my income and priorities at the time. 
  • By holding myself accountable. If and when I go over budget, I pay myself back so I don't fall behind on my budgets or goals. If I over spend in a category, I make up for it in another that month and sacrifice one thing for another. This is super important: self-restraint and recognizing your discipline is the really the only thing that keeps you on track in the end. No one is (I hope)  making you buy things outside of survival necessities like rent, groceries, medications, transportation -- it's you making these choices, so you need to be very conscious about your limits. 
  • By making it simple. I mark down my paydays and automatically have a certain amount of money go from one account into my savings every payday. This is super simple, lazy budgeting, you don't have to worry about it that way. It's just done for you. Putting aside $50 a month automatically into savings, taking into account interest, means you're automatically saving minimum $600 a year. That's awesome and basically effortless.
  • By using every resource available. I use financial calculators on a regular basis. There are plenty of them online, I use the ones on Mint.com, but you don't need to. Here is one, I just plugged in an example amount. $900 can get you so much CDG on ebay via resellers, or multiple items at their annual sample sales, etc. 

Source: Time Value Financial Calculators

18 September 2013

wedding looks for grown up mall goths

Some quick snaps from London again for you -- like I said my last London update, my camera wasn't very helpful so these are from my phone. I also forgot to bring any makeup besides lipstick and CC cream so I look different than I'd like, I feel like this look would have been killer with a really bizarre eyeliner situation but alas. We look totally miserable by default but I swear we were actually happy. I'M SORRY I'M AN IRL DARIA. Anyway! I've been saving this Junya Watanabe dress that I scored at the last CDG Sample Sale for months and months -- I got it at a bargain price, still made me hyperventilate at the register but when it comes to once in a lifetime dresses, I kind of just grit my teeth and remind myself I work to buy things I dream of.  Still, it's just so much LOOK, you know? 

When it comes to such a bizarre dress, it's really important for my own enjoyment of wearing the garment to research it's history. It's pretty far removed from traditional dresses, literally made from parachute fabric, and the most practical reference I have for it is like a high fashion version of those Tripp NYC Baggy bondage pants all the mall goths used to wear when I went to high school. I love the images of this season from Junya:


When we went to Selfridges to try on pretty things (well, actually for me to frolic in the La Fille D'o lingerie section) it was very funny, because I tried on the red leather Junya Watanabe leather jacket I linked up above and it looked virtually the same as my vintage leather jacket I'm wearing in these photos, though mine was less than 1/7th the price. Goes to show you you don't necessarily need to buy the label to buy the look. Though when it comes to some items like this parachute dress, sometimes you just can't find imitations. Even with the Junya jacket, it had knitwear detailing and super stiff, corset leather which is very different from this jacket. Still, it's all in the details. Even the vintage and thrifted things I buy are very on-brand...it's about weird proportions and cuts, and you can find those things in the most unexpected places. Want a CDG tricot look? Go into the school uniform section of your children's apparel store and frolic. Few people would know the difference if you style it right. In fact, it's even more admirable if you can achieve the look without buying into it, sometimes, I think. It's important to me that when I'm thrifting and come across the occasional designer label, that I don't buy the thing just because of the label. Would I really wear it? Really? Even if it's CDG, is the the specific aesthetic of CDG (for there are many) that I obsess over or is it just a pretty tag? And I usually put it down and move on. I haven't regretted many sartorial decisions because of it. 

11 September 2013

knitwear, basquiat, and barbara kruger

Went to Central Saint Martin's with Scott my last full day in London (can't believe it's been a few weeks by now), wore this particular creation of his on the trip there. It's a spectacular dress isn't it? Can you believe he's only been doing knitwear for a year, about? UNREAL. This dress was inspired by Basqiuat and other influences, I think he did a good job of making his intentions known. We'd gone to the Tate Modern the day before and the influence was startling. Unfortunately CSM was closed when I went -- I am cursed apparently, every time I try to go to a fashion themed library it never happens -- but the entrance hall was open and the lighting was killer so we snapped a few pictures together. I'm lucky with finding light. The clouds moved on immediately after we took these pictures, so it was great timing after a lot of dawling elsewhere being frustrated that we weren't getting what we wanted out of the day.

 I love photography and framing and lighting a lot, it lets me find something very intentional about everywhere I go. We're always walking around doing one thing or the other and when you're on the lookout for a good picture, you see things differently. It's nice to capture an ordinary moment and being able to invest something into it. A nondescript concrete wall can be beautiful too. 

I'm horrible at modeling though, definitely fall into the good ol' awkward blogger standby's, so trying to show the back of this dress without looking like I'm drawing on the wall or peeing is too hard for me. Whatever, I'm not signed to Ford, I don't gotta worry bout that stuff. 

I will try hard, however, to always be a better creative person though, which means I'm never going to stop experimenting with this here blog for as long as I have it, pushing my ideas and my techniques and exploring collaborations. I do read every comment and every email and every criticism and fanmail even if it's hard to answer them all, and I try to channel them into something even better and more productive for myself because it's just the only way I know how to live fully and happily. I am very young and have been able to do many things already so there is a constant worry of me wondering -- have I peaked already? is this it? -- but I think it's more productive for me to just hustle and try harder forever. The universe is expanding and nothing will be enough, but I think working towards being enough is fun while I have the chance. The meaning of life, as Kruger points out, is that it stops. So basically: *Jesse Pinkman voice* carpe diem, bitches.

05 September 2013

ann yee ss2014

I'm laying low this NYFW but I asked my friend Tayler (who you will likely grow to recognize on this blog in the future, just a hint) to snap some pics of Ann Yee's presentation for me because I couldn't make it at the last minute. I really love Ann Yee's work and try to make it every season so it was really important to me that if I couldn't go myself, I could still get material for ze blog for posterity. Here are Taylor's snaps of the presentation.

I way prefer artistic, chill presentations like this to shows, though I get why people fall over themselves to go to a runway show -- it's what we think of when we think of fashion, a lot of the time. Still, something to be said about having the luxury of just seeing babes being babely without flashing bulbs distorting the colors or the fast pace of the runway or people's iPads blocking your view of the clothes. After many seasons of NYFW (I think this may mark my 11th...wow) I know what I like in fashion, and that is the luxury of slowing down to taste the flavors. Might just be I'm waiting for the next big New York designer to lure me in. It's time for a new babe to get the nod from Ms. Wintour, don't you think?

the irony of perfect destruction

This outfit doubles as a London outfit post AND shows you what I wore to the first day of NYFW, haha. Quick phone snaps of my current 'practical' 'every day' fave outfit, I've worn it at least once a week for a month. Dress by Comme des Garcons, everything else is from wholesale liquidators and/or Goodwill. The most literal high/low mix and pretty descriptive of my actual style....I buy from Goodwill every six or eight months or something if something I've worn for awhile is worn out, and save the rest for the yearly CDG sample sales. My focus for my future is to consume less but better. This dress is surprisingly versatile and good for this idea because of the half sheerness, and the lack of structure (or rather, the more unusual kind of structure) of the top, so I can wear it tucked into pants, or with shorts, or with another layer of skirts, or backwards, etc. A lot of possibilities. It would be completely hideous if the actual techniques used weren't perfect. Comme is so interesting because it uses the rules of tailoring, patterncutting, etc, and completely distorts the approach. It reformulates the rules on it's own terms. I like this particular take on it a lot for it's playful dark geometry....if I bothered going to my senior prom, I'd have gladly worn this.

The quality of these photos is a bit of a  bummer but we shot & edited them on my phone, so you win some and lose some. These photos were taken on the side streets of Brick Lane in London, such a cute neighborhood, so much cool art and interesting shops.  A nice mix of  dollar bagels and Yohji Yamamoto gloves -- the best mix, really.

Edit: Thought it would be cool to show that yeah, I literally do just completely recycle outfits shamelessly. Here's outside Lincoln Center w/ my cutie internet bud Ben. He let me print his photos in my queer/fashion/feminsm zine I did a while back (but have yet to sell online, because I'm horrible), he's really talented:

Yay, friends!!! Aren't his shoes the illest? Ignore the fact I am a scrub and not looking in the right camera. Oops. 

03 September 2013

a trip to tatty devine

I was so excited to go to London not only to visit my best friend but also pop by to visit some brands and designers I have loved and worked with for awhile. Tatty Devine is one of them, I have admired their work for a long time and was so bummed when my schedule didn't work out when they came to the States a few months back to visit.

 When they heard I was visiting London for a few days they invited me to one of their stores and made me some necklaces. It was really fun to watch the process in person and also to watch customers buy in store. I'm a creep and love all aspects of consuming -- I love looking at linesheets and markups, and wholesale prices, and development processes, and seeing people take time and decide what to buy, too. Being a fashion blogger has given me privileged access to many aspects of the industry and it's never not fun to see every side. Customers at Tatty know exactly what they want and buy very quickly! It was a different experience than I've seen in most jewelry stores, I was really surprised.